On missing the boat…

“Sometimes I wonder about my life.  I live a small life, well, small but valuable.  And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around? I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void…”

— Kathleen Kelly in “You’ve Got Mail”

I’m sure I’ve used this quote before, perhaps even on this blog, to describe how I feel much of the time.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my life lately.  There’s something about dealing with Big Stuff—my dad’s cancer, a grandmother who’s basically a medical miracle, a variety of other things—that makes you think about the Little Stuff.  I’m in Mondo Beyondo, which asks you to unearth all sorts of secret dreams in your heart and write them down, and believe that they’re going to happen.  It’s scary, and makes you feel vulnerable in the best and worst of ways.

The older I get, the more comfortable I get in my own skin.  I’ve accepted the fact that I’m kind of boring and that I need a lot of time alone to recharge.  I’ve learned to be grateful for my little quirks and oddities.  Sure, there are things I want to improve about myself, but most days, I wake up, and I think, “Hey friend…I kinda like you!”

But the thing is this: being in your twenties is the weirdest.  I have friends who are the same age, but are at dramatically different places than me, and than one another.  Some are getting married.  Some have 2 and 3 kids.  Some are just finishing college and others still are just starting.  I have friends who are traveling all over the world, others who are living all over the country with no real home base.  Some are lawyers and doctors, some are making their millions in sales.  Some are living at home with no immediate plans for the future, and they like it that way.

I feel like I reside somewhere in the middle.  I started my twenties married and on the track to have babies and such; my life fell apart, and I went the other way, going out all the time and being a typical “young 20-something”, doing a job that wasn’t permanent while I figured life out.  When I started teaching two and a half years ago, I was forced to settle down, and the truth is, I love it.  I’m not married, but I’m in a long-term relationship.  I’m in a career.  My life is stable, full of the best friends I could ask for, and a close relationship with my family and a million good things.

I am grateful.

But—there’s always a but—I wonder if somehow I’m missing something.  There’s all this mystique around your twenties, and in some ways, pressure.  I could be traveling the world, sans real commitment or being tied down.  I could be going out every night, drinking and being silly.  I could be living abroad.  I could be married with babies, or buying a house.  But I’m not.  I’m working in a job I love, sure.  But still, I find myself wondering: is there something else I should be doing?  Am I squandering this time?

One of my biggest flaws, easily, is that I have “grass is always greener” syndrome.  I find myself always asking “what’s next?” in every situation, and after it passes, I kick myself for not enjoying it more, for not just letting go and taking it all in for what it is.

So, while I’m trying to be more brave, to say yes, and look for opportunities, I’m also trying to slow down, to look around and be grateful for exactly what’s going on, whether or not it’s “what I should be doing in my twenties.”

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13 Comments

Filed under life with titch

13 responses to “On missing the boat…

  1. I equate my twenties to a roller coaster—great peaks, crashes, twists, turns, tunnels, flips, screaming, laughing, crying, scared, excited, in the moment and then praying for the moment to pass, throwing my head back, howling at the wind, and holding the hand of whoever’s next to me.

    Sometimes, I wish the ride would stop. For just a moment. Just so I can get my bearings and smooth my hair and straighten my clothes. Collect myself. Enjoy stillness. Silence.

    Then, I remember that this ride is, actually, my life.

    So I’d better fasten my seatbelt and hold on tight.

    As always, lovely post, my friend.

  2. trust me, being in your 40’s is the weirdest! you are amazing. trust your instincts. you are exactly where you need to be.

    xo

  3. You always seem to say the most lovely things. I’ve been feeling much this way lately, as my twenties are coming to an end in a few months. Sometimes I look and think “wow, I’ve done nothing,” because I am not married and I don’t have babies. At the same time, I can be proud, because I’ve moved to a big city, I’ve lived abroad and I have two Master’s degrees. While I constantly find myself questioning my career choice, I don’t see that as a bad thing, because so many people are doing the same thing. My twenties haven’t been so bad…and I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything (except maybe a corgi!) 🙂

  4. I soooooooooooooo relate to this post. And I love that You’ve Got Mail quote. It really sums things up. I often wonder if I’ll always be wondering what else is out there.

  5. “I’ve accepted the fact that I’m kind of boring and that I need a lot of time alone to recharge. I’ve learned to be grateful for my little quirks and oddities. Sure, there are things I want to improve about myself, but most days, I wake up, and I think, ‘Hey friend…I kinda like you!'”

    I LOVED this! It sums me up perfectly…and I think I was down on this fact before I read this blog post. I am boring. People have told me I’m boring. I’m super low-key and quiet. But that’s OK. Wow, I think you’ve just given me something to blog about today! 🙂 Thanks!

  6. I think you’ve described really accurately what your 20’s are like. I feel like you often. There is always going to be something we can’t have. I chose a demanding, fulfilling career so I have to give up being the perfect homemaker. I want to keep my job and my hobbies, so I have to put off going back for my master’s for a little while. It’s hard to make those choices sometimes, but I think you’ve got the right idea–be grateful for what we’ve got!

  7. Ari

    I think everyone feels this way at one point or another. I was right there at the verge of makin’ babies and having a family and now it feels like I’m back at square one – renting and working multiple jobs (granted they’re jobs I enjoy and had before, but still). Plus, where did these socialital “norms” come from – just cause everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean that its right for you.

  8. Wow, that was SO well put. Its funny how people in their 20’s can be in SUCH different places and it still all makes sense and no one judges you. I definitely always do the grass-is-greener runaround. Even though I am extremely happy with my life I look at everyone around me and wonder what else I could be doing. Here’s to hoping we figure it out. Keep on blogging and let me know if you figure it out ;0)

  9. when i turned 25 i had a little bit of a crisis. not a quarter life crisis, but just your basic “holy hannah, this is not where i thought i’d be at this point.”

    i thought i’d have been married with a baby by that point, but instead i felt like i was just floundering.

    but with some reassurance from my favorite people on earth, i’ve been working on convincing myself that i’m right where i’m supposed to be. granted, it isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, but i just have to trust. 🙂 always here if you need to vent! 🙂

  10. I’m turning 20 this april and I’m feeling a little bit more fleeting than before. Maybe it’s the hormones talking. Or the fact that I’m easily out of my teens before I know it. *sighs*

  11. Twenties are weird and I can totally relate to what you’re saying. I’m the 24 year old with a stable job, two kids, and going to school. My best friend is 22, just moved in with the love of her life and is about to gget her bachelors. The other best friend is 24 and the epitome of a party girl. Three very different people at 3 very different stages in life, yet we somehow manage to relate.

    I often tell my bff that if I was in her place, (no kids…no need for an actual job) I’d be studying abroad or living in New York or doing something else fabulous with my life. I do feel like I’m missing out on traveling but it’s ok because I’ll get to do that in my 40s with (hopefully) a much different perspective on life.

  12. I’m with you on the grass-is-greener thing right now. But I do appreciate where I am on my good days. Which is saying something, I guess. Sometimes I feel so much OLDER than I am, and kinda pissed that other people haven’t experienced as much as I have at a young age. AH WELL, I hear that our 30s are the new 20s, eh? Ha ha.

  13. Pingback: The Freaky and Fabulous, pt. ii « Hannah, just breathe…

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